After a disappointing result at nationals, John Simmons was back on target over the weekend.
The Whitehorse pistol shooter notched a personal best finish with third in the open division at the 2015 IPSC B.C. Provincial Championships in Nanaimo.
Simmons, who placed fourth last year for his previous best finish, was also the top master shooter, placing behind two grandmasters.
“I’m happy with it. First would be better, but that’s coming,” said Simmons, who admits to being his worst critic. “When you get to a certain level of competition, you pick away at yourself. I shoulda, woulda, coulda comes up when you think back about what you did …
You think about all the little things and every top competitor does it.”
“Everybody seems to make mistakes at some point, even if it’s fumbling a reload, slow trying to get a mag changed – it costs time. It’s just little things pick away at you. It happens to the best.”
With his bronze result over the weekend, Simmons also finished the season ranked third in B.C. with a number of wins in B.C. qualifier events earlier this summer.
His finish in Nanaimo also landed him a spot on B.C.‘s elite team – the “Gold Team” – for next year’s nationals for IPSC, the International Practical Shooting Confederation, in which speed and accuracy are measured as shooters move through an obstacle course.
Over the weekend Simmons came out firing, winning the first of 14 stages. He went on to win five stages in total, placed second in three others and third in four more.
“I was doing pretty good, for sure,” said Simmons. “I finished high up, just overall, all the time.
“I’m slowly getting more consistent. I haven’t stopped learning. I haven’t topped out or stalled out, I’m still learning and getting better every single time. I’m pretty happy about that.”
Simmons’ 2015 season had just one bump in the road: the Canadian championships. He won back-to-back B.C. qualifiers and went on to win the USPSA Sectional Alaska State Championship – using the U.S.‘s version of IPSC – outside of Fairbanks in July.
But at nationals last month an early error proved costly. Simmons failed to engage two targets in the first stage – just went by without even shooting at them – and was playing catch-up for the rest of the championship. He ended up placing 21st in open, down from fifth last year.
“I won the state championships, and then I went to nationals and made that stupid mistake, which was costly,” said Simmons. “But then I went to provincials and finished third. So, overall, I probably shot the best I’ve ever shot.
“At nationals, the mistake I made wasn’t from shooting, it was from running past targets. It was just a stupid mistake. It doesn’t even make sense to forget where two (targets) are.”
The six-time Yukon steel-shooting champion competed at his first world championship in October. At the triennial IPSC World Shoot Simmons placed 162nd out of 367 shooters in the open division and sixth out of 25 Canadians.
“Thanks to the Whitehorse Rifle and Pistol Club for letting me run around and do my practicing all the time, and to the Yukon Shooting Federation for the support,” said Simmons. “Those two organizations help out a lot. Without those two we can’t even shoot or even practice. I appreciate the help and support from all the local shooters and the club.”
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